Mason still can’t beat Saint Louis for some reason

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Yesterday afternoon George Mason lost to Saint Louis for the third straight time in less than a year. The level of effort and execution was just not there for Mason and it was probably their worst performance on the season. Nothing was going right from the start and early fouls on Marquise Moore and Jalen Jenkins really ground the offense to an early halt. It didn’t get much better in the second half even though they shot the ball much better from the field. Everyone seemed to be missing shots at the foul line and just making bad decisions on both ends. The overall flow of the game was weird from the start and the fouls called were inconsistent but Mason still had plenty of chances to climb back in. They only had 11 turnovers on the day but it seemed like Saint Louis was able to capitalize on every single one of them (14 points off turnovers). Sure the Billikens were desperate for a win and it definitely seemed like they wanted it more, but when Mason has been out-willing their opponents all season long with better effort; it was difficult to watch them go down in this one.

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Moore again managed a double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds but it was tough for this team to comeback after shooting just 22% in the first half. Jaire Grayer came off the bench for 16 points but still missed a ton a shots. So did Otis Livingston II, who has been in a bit of shooting lump lately. They are just not getting consistent production from anywhere outside of Marquise Moore. Freshmen Boyd, Kier, and Newman who often can provide a spark on offense, all struggled to make an impact. Entering this game they had been shooting the ball well from behind the three-point line in conference games but were 5-of-15 from there in this one. Combine that with eight missed free-throws and it’s difficult for them to break 60.

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Dave Paulsen said all preseason that games like this were going to happen but after Mason’s earlier winning streaks it sure seemed like they wouldn’t drop a conference game to such a bad opponent. They certainly don’t seem like a team lacking experience when they play tough on the road but we’ve seen this before in the Mount St. Mary’s game. The problem is Mason relies on going full speed and out-working their opponents in order to win. This is important especially on defense but the problem is they need to be “up” for every single game and can’t look past anyone. Marquise Moore is having a great year and so is Jalen Jenkins, but it’s not like these are guys that the rest of the team can just sit back and watch score 25 points in games like this. They have to play tough at both ends of the court and totally be in sync as a team. That is difficult for any coach to replicate every game and Mason was able to do it for awhile but it’s a long season. Hopefully this win was a gut punch they needed to realize they can’t take games off in the Atlantic 10.

[Photos by Bill Bride]

  • StopWearingPurple

    Burn the game film and start prepping for Richmond.

    On a side note. Troy Temara has along way to go in becoming a reliable player.

  • G-n-G

    A few thoughts on an otherwise forgettable game.
    – Was Paulsen punishing Grayer for some infraction by not starting him or trying some new lineup against a weak team?
    – Despite not starting, Grayer seemed to be the only player with any energy for Mason, even with the many missed shots. He seems to be more confident in the past few games.
    – Meanwhile, Livingston seems to have lost some of his confidence and positive spirit. He seems downright grumpy at times.
    – I wonder what Paulsen is referring to when he said afterward “We’re going to get back to work and restore some issues in our culture that surfaced tonight.”
    – Very much agree on Temara. He brings energy but often doesn’t seem to know where he should be, especially on defense. He may have a higher ceiling than Relvao, but right now he’s not close to being as good (recognizing Relvao’s lack of foot speed).

  • mason2004

    Saint Louis played a hell of lot better than they had been for most of the season prior to this game. But still, Mason got severely beaten in the first half against them and they just can’t let stuff like that happen.

  • TonyD

    We’ve largely overachieved this season, so to me we were due for a game like this. We are one of the least experienced team’s in the country.

  • Bill Bride

    Eight days from Saturday until the next game. It’s going to seem longer after that performance. Even the beginning of the game and half time cranking of the siren lacked energy. Heck I’ll even crank it out! Learn from this game and move on.

    • Bill Bride

      Nice to read Coach Paulsen’s tweet about taking the team to the National Museum of African American History today. I love it when a coach of any sport locally takes advantage of what Washington DC has to offer.
      I will mention Otis still went over to the Green Machine and slapped high fives with the members and also fans and kids. Granted the smile while doing this wasn’t as big after a loss but it was nice to see him thank supporters. He gets it. He’ll bounce back.

  • Days of Yates

    Sometimes all our “quicks” on offense just don’t translate into scoring. “Team speed” means everyone must participate; otherwise, someone like Marquis ends up with the ball flat-footed and having to drive in for a shot from there…. it seemed like we had a lot of those, where no one got to shoot from the rhythm of the offense, so someone had to create in a one-on-one situation. And we tend to see those shots roll off the rim. Maybe coach’s comment was derived from seeing a couple of weak links in the chain in that regard.

    All I do know is the searing look Paulsen gave the officials at the half, saying “wow” under his breath after what really was a terrible call. It may just be my sore loser-ism coming out, but it seems when we lose games like this all the close calls go against us (I’m not accusing the officials of anything — but in hoops there’s always going to be missed or close calls). It also sucked that, by the time the broadcast came on tv, a minute and a half had gone by and Marquis was already on the bench with two fouls. What happened there? It certainly seemed to knock us off-kilter, which worries me that we should become too reliant on one player.

    • StopWearingPurple

      The officiating was piss-poor but it was more insult than injury (the refs didn’t miss free throws, commit turnovers or continually lose track of #20). If I remember correctly Moore’s second foul was a stupid foul. He didn’t get the rebound but for some reason fouled the guy after he clearly had the ball.

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